Book review: 2 Sisters Detective Agency by James Patterson, Candice Fox

Candice Fox partnered with James Patterson to write this cracker of a crime novel. The two met at a cocktail party and have worked on a few books together, most notably the Harriet Blue series. 2 Sisters Detective Agency is their latest offering, a stand alone detective thriller.

Rhonda Bird is a fabulous character. A fat, pink haired attorney who wears rock band t-shirts and spends her time helping young people on the wrong side of the law. When she gets a call advising that her estranged father, Earl, is dead and she needs to return to LA to sort out his affairs, she does so reluctantly, anticipating being landed with all his debts. What she finds are two unexpected surprises.

As big as I am – 260 pounds, some of it well-earned muscle and some of it long-maintained fat – there’s no point trying to fit in with the crowd. The pink hair was just the latest shade in a rotating kaleidoscope of colors I applied to my half shaved, wavy quiff, and I always wore rock bank shirts in the courtroom under my blazer.

Earl bequeathed Rhonda his dodgy private detective agency and his fifteen year old obnoxious, black, leggy, Instagram influencer daughter, Baby, whose existence Rhonda was unaware of. Whilst Rhonda grapples with who her father was and what to do about the brat half-sister she’s been gifted, the two women find themselves in the firing line of an angry Russian criminal cartel and an awakened ex-assassin with a lust for revenge, thanks to Earl’s dodgy operations.

As you’d expect from Candice Fox, 2 Sisters Detective Agency is jam packed with bigger than life bold characters, plenty of action and laugh out loud humour.

I’m a huge Candice fan (previous reviews here, here, here, and here), and could see her fingerprints all over this story, but she doesn’t get all the accolades as the work was a collaboration. I’ve never read James Patterson before, but will do so now as I found myself pondering whilst I read the book how they worked together. Did they write alternate chapters? Did they choose characters and write one each? Did they edit each other’s work? I imagine collaborative writing adds an interesting zing to the usually solitary process. Perhaps reading some of Patterson’s work will reveal his style and enable me to tell more easily which voice is him and which is Candice.

I started reading 2 Sisters Detective Agency the day after Melbourne’s long lockdown ended and was so captured I had to drag myself away from the story to attend to the social catch ups I’d prearranged. I almost wished lockdown had been extended for a day or so to give me the excuse to just lie on the sofa and get lost in the adventure. Highly recommended.

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